Ever wondered what a Borough Councillor's role entails?

Ever wondered what a Borough Councillor's role entails?
I did! I was elected as a Councillor for the Lynn South & West ward of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk on 5th May 2011.

A little bit about me:
I have lived in South Lynn for 7 years with my wife and work locally for the Norfolk Primary Care Trust as an IT Manager.

I am a Labour Councillor and whilst the local Labour group made some encouraging gains in the May elections (moving from 4 councillors to 13) we are still very much a minority opposition as the Tories hold 42 of the 64 council seats.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Pedestrian Crossing for Poppyfields West Lynn Proposal

The King's Lynn Area Consultative Committee (KLACC) tonight decided not to support a Parish Partnerships scheme to provide a crossing for residents of Poppyfields in West Lynn.

The proposal included dropped kerbs with tactile pavements further south than the current dropped kerb crossing at the bus stop on Clenchwarton Road and a pedestrian refuge to enable a small number of pedestrians to cross the road in two stages.

As ward councillor for South and West Lynn, I was torn by this proposal as it is encouraging to see that at long last something could happen to help make crossing safer for residents of Poppyfields but I did not think that the proposed measures went far enough to improve safety for pedestrians at what is quite a considerable cost of £20,000.

It was clear to me that the proposal was being put before the KLACC meeting tonight in support of a governance process, to ensure that funding could be agreed before the end of March 2017 and therefore meet the deadline for inclusion 17/18 programme of works but this is a very serious issue for residents of Poppyfields and I argued that this was the wrong proposal at the wrong time, asking that it is looked at in more detail in future, with the intention of providing a much safer, albeit more expensive crossing. In my view, because of the nature of the road, it is desirable to implement a crossing that will force traffic to slow and stop to allow pedestrians to cross. A controlled crossing (with traffic lights) is accepted as being too expensive but a zebra crossing, either on a raised table or otherwise might be feasible, having been estimated at 'up to' £60,000 (with Parish Partnerships funding being capped at £50,000).

What was astounding was that it seems to be accepted from all quarters that the mean speed of vehicles travelling along this stretch of road is much higher than the 30mph speed limit (having been reduced from 40mph at about the time that Poppyfields was built) and the County Council representative pointed out that guidelines state that if 85% of vehicles are travelling at 35mph or more (which would not be surprising for this stretch of road) a zebra crossing, and indeed a refuge style crossing, would be ruled out - effectively, if vehicles are travelling too quickly, we cannot put in a measure which will make it safer to cross and slow vehicles down in one stroke.

Just a mile or so further down the road from West Lynn is Clenchwarton, which I pointed out benefits from a 20mph zone, belisha beacons marking the start and end of the 20mph zone, two raised table traffic calming measures either side of a raised table zebra crossing and the residents of West Lynn deserve more than the refuge crossing being proposed.

Poppyfields is a residential development inhabited mainly by young families and these families have no option but to cross Clenchwarton Road in order to reach the West Lynn School. Anecdotally, residents have admitted that they would rather drive their children to the school than take their chances crossing the road, creating traffic problems outside the school at the beginning and end of the school day and storing up public health problems for years to come so I will continue to lobby for a full zebra crossing at this location to support the residents of West Lynn.

The report considered by tonight's KLACC meeting can be found here